Community//

Finding comfort in a new, but familiar job

How the weekly cadence of emails and conference calls combats and comforts in a world of chaos.

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Photo by Michaela J
Photo by Michaela J

While everyone else has been baking bread or posting Tik-Tok videos in 2020, I’ve been re-learning an old job. I’d entered the year determined to land a consulting job that would provide the financial security I needed while growing my side hustle.

I’d given myself the previous 12 months to launch my business, Ready Pause Go, and to make it profitable. While I learned a lot about podcasting, coaching, and entrepreneurship, one of my key learnings was that it took a full year to learn what I needed to know and I’d need at least another year to achieve those profitability goals.

When I looked honestly at how best to achieve financial security, I realized that podcasting was definitely not yet the ticket for me. Thankfully, I had other skills and experience. In fact, my podcast focuses on professional women who take a career pause, so I was knowledgeable about how to manage the transition. I re-engaged with a consulting firm I’d interviewed with in the past, suggested an in-person meeting (back when that was possible) even though it wasn’t required, and consistently emailed them every week to show I was committed to landing a consulting gig.

After a few close but, ultimately, missed opportunities, I connected in late March with a hiring manager from the tech giant I’d worked for right out of college. Not only did we have that company in common on our resume, but we’d also held nearly identical jobs at a different software company.

I don’t know if it was the familiarity of my resume or the pressure of interviewing in a pandemic, but the call wrapped after 30 minutes and I had my offer by the end of the day. Despite the fact that I was dealing with all kinds of upheaval in my persona life–my father had just transitioned to at-home hospice, my brother was diagnosed with COVID-19, my college son had been sent home–I jumped at the chance. After a year of the entrepreneur life and on my family’s last month of COBRA, I craved the stability of a paycheck and health insurance.

What I didn’t expect was the myriad of ways the job would offer stability. Returning to the cadence of a regular schedule, weekly meetings, and a full inbox every morning has been welcome amongst the chaos of both my personal life and the world around me. Instead of checking the news for fruitless updates every morning, I returned to checking my email and problem-solving on a manageable level.

While the world may look like it’s crumbling from some perspectives, my department at work is experiencing massive growth and there are no layoffs. We quickly pivoted from in-person to virtual events and are strategically planning for the long road ahead. Every day, I reach beyond my own continent to interact with people from Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Working from my remote office, I see their faces on Microsoft Teams and they all feel equidistant from me and from each other. Although the conversations are dominated by work issues, I also hear glimpses of quarantine protocols from around the world.

While I don’t have answers for the pandemic, I can usually answer the topics at hand and I take comfort in that. Problem-solving on a small scale and successfully collaborating on a daily basis with my partners around the globe makes the rest of the world’s problems feel a little less daunting.

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